One day after the DS brand unveiled the DS 9 sedan, the upscale French marque presents its vision for sustainable electric luxury with the Aero Sport Lounge concept. Touted as "a prelude to our next creations" and "a manifesto intended to illustrate the buzzword ‘sustainable,’" the concept combines a now-familiar packaging for future electric crossovers with a cockpit full of new twists on sustainable materials and inchoate human-machine interface technology. Underneath it all, designers installed a 670-horsepower battery-electric drivetrain derived from DS' championship-winning Formula E experience, following in the silent wake of the X E-Tense concept that employed a similar powertrain in 2018. Powered by a 110-kWh battery, the Aero Sport Lounge sprints to 62 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds and is said to boast a 400-mile range.
DS says the 16.5-foot-long design study "inaugurates a new vehicle silhouette." In truth, it solidifies the current vogue in futuristic EV concepts. We've seen the same lean, low-roof, high-beltline, fastback profile on the Infiniti Qs Inspiration concept from last year and the Polestar Precept concept from just a day ago. The BMW i4 Concept presents the form with a touch less ride height, and the Volkswagen ID.4 is what these concepts end up looking like for production when everyone is forced to acknowledge that backseat passengers have heads. Nevertheless, the DS take is as handsome as the rest, and even more angular. The inset grille contains the obligatory illuminating screen and corporate badging, fronting a suite of sensors that "read the road and feed computers with terabytes of information." The curve of the grille shunts air through the body and out the specially designed 23-inch aero wheels. Matrix LED vision projector headlights help create just the right alien-tech face, above the DS Light Veil DRLs that bend with the folded sheetmetal "that preview the future DS signature."
The interior stresses the "Lounge" in the name, along with old-world French luxury. The door panels are lined with three-material braided microfiber with occasional transparent strands set into the plait to carry ambient lighting. Four slick seats pack high-density mousse for comfort, upholstered with a very fine-woven satin cotton, the seatbacks clad in straw marquetry using a 17th century technique and rye straw from Burgundy. In between them, the central armrest breaks the cabin into quadrants. Instead of buttons, each of the four passengers can control their personal screens and convey their needs with gestures made over the armrest. The system responds to gestures via tiny speakers that emit pulse waves, creating a silent, sensory response in "intelligent, three-dimensional ultrasound." In front, a buttonless instrument panel is laid out in two horizontal forms, the upper dash beaming information for display on the lower panel, which is wrapped in satin cotton. Driving particulars are projected onto the windshield with augmented reality, and the vehicle's AI, named Iris, assists with requests that go beyond gestures.
It's a shame the DS 9 doesn't show more overt inspiration from the Aero Sport Lounge concept. Both will share the DS stand at next month's Geneva Motor Show.